Intel's new Verified by Intel program may be the last hope for the whitebook market, said Michael Schwab, vice president of purchasing at D&H Distributing.
Under the Verified by Intel program, barebones notebook PCs from original design manufacturers (ODMs) ASUSTek, Compal and Quanta use interchangeable components such as LCD displays, keyboards, hard drives, optical drives, memory and batteries in order to offer a full range of customization while keeping costs low.
This program must work if whitebooks are to have credibility with solution providers, Schwab said. Harrisburg, Pa.-based D&H late last month launched a line of Verified by Intel portable PCs from all three ODMs.
"There have been false starts with whitebook distributors selling clamshells to VARs," he said. "Verified by Intel gives resellers a chance to give whitebooks another look. We really need to leverage this program if resellers are to be able to offer any notebook PCs other than models from tier-one vendors."
Schwab is dead-on in his thinking, said Tom Derosier, co-owner of CPU Guys, a Hanson, Mass.-based system builder and solution provider.
"We've been promised we can build our own notebooks by Intel for three years," Derosier said. "But it never got down to the channel. If the notebooks go out and don't come back, it will be a massive shot in the arm for my company."
Schwab said the Verified by Intel Program, because it features components that are interchangeable between models from all three ODMs, will make it easy for solution providers and end users to get the exact notebook PCs they need.
"I envision a time when a reseller or end user who wants to buy a mobile PC, when they don't like the display, can pop it out and replace it with another display," he said.
They also will benefit from Intel's tech support, Schwab said. "The vast majority of resellers in North America are used to technical and warranty support from Intel," he said.
D&H is offering a number of different whitebooks from each of the three ODMs. Schwab said they differ from each other in such areas as cosmetics, pointing device, screen size or form factor.
D&H is the third U.S.-based distributor to start distributing Verified by Intel whitebooks, after ASI, Fremont, Calif., and Synnex, Fremont, Calif.